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RMA, TIA support state vehicle inspections

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All states should adopt a periodic motor vehicle safety inspection to help reduce crashes each year, according to comments filed by Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Tire Industry Association (TIA).

RMA and TIA filed joint comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supporting the agency’s guideline to states that they should adopt vehicle safety inspections. The guidance is not a mandate but one of a number of recommendations provided to states by NHTSA.

In their comments, RMA President and CEO Charles Cannon and TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield said, “RMA and TIA applaud NHTSA’s initiative and effort to encourage states to adopt effective safety programs. We strongly support NHTSA’s guideline that states should adopt periodic motor vehicle safety inspections. Adoption of this guideline in every state will help save lives, prevent injuries and reduce the economic damage caused by preventable motor vehicle crashes.”

The organizations both advocated that any state inspection program must include tires. “RMA and TIA strongly urge all states to adopt a periodic, preferably annual, motor vehicle safety inspection program. Such a program should have a tire inspection that, at a minimum, includes: Measure tread depth and fail vehicles that have any tire with a tread depth of 2/32nds inch or less on any part of the tire; check every tire for damage exposing the reinforcing plies of the tire, including cuts, cracks, bulges, punctures, scrapes or wear; and check and inflate all tires to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure.

RMA and TIA noted that few motorists check tires regularly and cited studies showing many motorists delay needed maintenance. “While an annual vehicle inspection that includes tires will not completely reverse such widespread neglect of tire maintenance, it can both reduce the incidents of tire failure and help educate more motorists about the importance of tire care,” Cannon and Littlefield wrote.

With fewer than 20 states having some form of vehicle inspection, RMA and TIA suggested that federal policymakers explore whether to create incentives or consequences to spur state action on this issue. “A mandatory, annual vehicle safety inspection could prevent vehicles with significant safety issues from being involved in a serious crash,” the groups wrote.  “To ensure that states enact periodic inspection programs, the federal government should explore whether incentive grants can be made to states with programs or consider withholding federal highway funds from states without inspection programs to spur action.”

“We applaud NHTSA’s effort to encourage states to have vehicle inspection programs,” said Littlefield.  “This is an issue in which there is unity among the leading tire industry organizations and we felt compelled to lend our collective voice to NHTSA’s effort.”

“Both RMA and TIA have strong records of supporting pro-safety efforts,” Cannon added.  “We hope that states will take a fresh look at this issue and work with NHTSA to implement programs that can help reduce crashes on our nation’s roadways.”

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